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Friday, February 7, 2014

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of February 4, 2014

I began video recording the City Council in 2012, because of my desire that the City do it on their own as any modern 21st century community began doing long ago. I had people tell me that they couldn't make it to the meetings, but they would like to see what is going on. I was also told by some council members that my summaries did not truly reflect the record, so having a video/audio recording cannot be misinterpreted.

So below is the City Council meeting. With each agenda item, you can click on the links and it will take you to that specific point in the meeting. You can always drag the marker on the video display to the point in the broadcast that you are interested in seeing.

Agenda about the City Council meeting of February 4, 2014

Consent Agenda Unanimously Approved

New Business - Public Hearings
1. Resolution and Order for Petition of Moretz Mills, LLC to Close a Portion of E Avenue SE. - On December 6, 2013, Patrick, Harper & Dixon, Attorneys at Law, presented a petition on behalf of Moretz Mills LLC, one of the property owners of property abutting a portion of E Avenue SE, requested the City to abandon a portion of this right-of-way.

Hound: This Public Hearing was postponed til a later date to allow the parties involved in the agreement to come to a compromise. Time certain for the hearing will be March 4, 2014. The hearing was opened and closed and continued.

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. (a) Request to Amend the Parking Ordinance for the Farmer’s Market to Include Last Year’s Ordinance #13-06, with a Time Change and Day. Change the Farmer’s Market No Parking hours from the current ordinance language which calls for Wednesdays from 8:30 AM until 4:00 PM and Saturdays from 6:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. to the new hours for 2014 which includes Wednesdays 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturdays 6:20 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. from April 16, 2014 through November 29, 2014 (excluding Saturday, October 11, 2014 which is Oktoberfest weekend) for the spaces south of Union Square on the north side of the parking lot road connecting the east and west parking lots as well as along the west parking lot to include the first three (3) angled parking spaces. Also, change the parking ordinance from the previous year from Monday from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., May 6, 2013 through October 7, 2013 to now include the new Thursday market evening covered by no parking hours of Thursdays 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. from June 5, 2014 through August 28, 2014 in the west parking lot specifically to include the first three (3) angled parking spaces only. Previously, all of the west lot spaces were included for the Monday

2013 Market Hours 2014 Market Hours Dates
Monday 4-7pm Thursday 5-8pm June 5 through August 28, 2014
Wednesday 10am-3pm Wed 10am-3pm April 16 through November 29, 2014
Saturday 8am-1pm Sat 8am-1pm April 16 through November 29, 2014

** Time change has been moved back to help with set up.

1. (b) Special Event/Activities Application for Downtown Hickory Farmers’ Market.

2. (a) Approval of an Agreement for Professional Services with HDR Engineering, Inc. of the Carolinas in the amount of $288,000. - Staff requests approval of this agreement for Engineering Services with HDR Engineering, Inc. of the Carolinas to perform professional engineering services related to design on sanitary sewer infrastructure

2. (b) Capital Project Ordinance Number 2. - To budget a $288,000 transfer from the Water and Sewer Capital – Sewer Lines account to the Murray Basin Capital Project.

General Comments
(From Hickory Inc. Action Agenda)
Alderman Guess commented that recently Chief of Police Tom Adkins was named as the President of the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police. Not only is that an extinctive honor, but it helps the City of Hickory in a lot of different ways. He wanted to make that public announcement and congratulate Chief Adkins on that appointment.
Alderman Seaver commented now he is the Chief, Chief.
Mayor Wright commented that we are very fortunate. We have Mack McLeod who served as President of the Parks and Recreation Commission, and a lot of people who are very involved in leadership positions with the trade Associations for municipal staff. He commented that is quite a bit of benefit to the City. Some of that knowledge rubs off.
Alderman Seaver commented that is not counting some of the other cities that come and rob us of some of our folks.

Mayor Wright stated that on Friday the City unveiled proposals for Inspiring Spaces. We need to turn our population growth into a positive direction. We need to turn our job growth into a positive direction, and we have to grow one to grow the other. We called it, at that point, a start of dialogue. No decisions were made, no votes were taken. The dialogue has started. If his emails are an example we are going to have a vigorous dialogue, and that is good, because it is for the people, it is going to be paid for by the people, so we need to talk about it. We have had some conversations with some people across the State who have done similar things, and what we hear is positive. That upon embarking on these kind of ventures, the people started feeling better about themselves, and they get enthusiastic and good things happen. He commented that they solicit citizens input, the dialogue is open, and they welcome comments. He asked what we have on the City’s website. We have everything that has been presented to the public. Actually everything that has been presented to the public, is everything that has been presented to the Council too. If you want to learn more go to the City’s website. More information will be released there. It is a new day. We have hunkered down as long as we can, and now we have to start investing and make some good things happen.
Mayor Wright commented that the paper gave the City good coverage. That headline of what might cost the taxpayers $4,006 per foot was not the finest moment for the paper. However, the way that he answers that is this; you build a 5,000 square foot house that is 100 x 50, on average that is $500,000 dollars. You stand at the corner of that house and you look one way, and say, that cost $5,000 a foot. You look the other way, and say, that cost $10,000 a foot, and neither number means a thing. He hopes that we don’t hear too much about $4,006 a foot, unless someone will break it down by square foot, and even that is only meaningful if you understand what you are building.

Alderman Seaver commented that Hickory High was hosting St. Stephens in basketball tonight, so if you would like some further excitement go over to Hickory High.
Mayor Wright stated that they were not endorsing either team.
Alderman Seaver stated no, that is a good game.
Mayor Wright asked if there were any other comments, or if any one wanted to say anything further about Inspiring Spaces?
Alderman Seaver commented that we should aspire to inspire before we expire.

The Hound's Comment - Pretty sad that the Mayor still disrespects the HDR to the extent that he fusses about their headline of $4,000+ per square foot. The HDR did everything in their power to get him and the others re-elected. Where's the love? 

The headline does make a valid point, but in the end they'll do everything they can to help push this through too. Anyone that makes an investment looks at area costs. And please come out of your attention span stupor long enough to remember that the structure on Union Square was supposed to cost $285,000 and the amount they will admit to is right at $500,000.

$27 million for a beautification project focused once again on Downtown, which with the overruns we have seen in the current past could equal $50 million easily, after they told everyone that Inspiring Spaces wouldn't be focused on Downtown, certainly seems exorbitant for a city that has constantly told and shown through actions an unwillingness to invest in other parts of the city.  Lot of splainin to do here folks, but I'm sure they'll come up with somethin'. Won't they?

We aren't prescient folks. It has all been so transparent. We told you what was going to happen last year and now the chickens are ready to roost.

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